Most people are familiar with the traditional countertop microwave. These freestanding units are usually placed directly on the kitchen counter. However, microwave ovens also come in a built-in, over-the-range style. These microwaves are mounted above a cooktop or range. In addition to a microwave oven, these handy appliances offer venting and overhead lighting while also freeing up counter space.
Not sure whether to choose a built-in vs. countertop microwave? Our guide below can help.
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN SHOPPING FOR A MICROWAVE
1. VENTING NEEDS
If your kitchen already has a vent hood installed, you can replace it with an over-the-range microwave as a space-saving solution. Over-the-range models feature built-in exhaust venting and charcoal filtering to help take odors and fumes out of your kitchen air. If your kitchen is not equipped with a vent, your over-the-range microwave can also recirculate the air.
2. AVAILABLE COUNTER SPACE
Installing a built-in vs. countertop microwave leaves more kitchen space for your coffee pot, bread maker, toaster oven or other freestanding countertop appliances.
3. YOUR COOKING STYLE
If your microwave oven is fully integrated into your cooking “flow,” you’ll likely benefit from an over-the-range model. With the microwave and the range both in one place, you can defrost in the microwave while cooking on the range top without having to cross the kitchen to check on either one.
Some microwaves feature a non-stick interior to easily resist stains and splatters. These interiors tend to be easier to clean, usually requiring only a simple wipe down.
5. IMPROVED ACCESS
Some countertop microwaves are ADA compliant, so they are recommended for use in households with special needs, providing better access to features and other one-touch settings.
6. COOKING CONVENIENCE
Sensor cooking microwaves sense humidity to determine the doneness of each thing you cook, so there’s less guesswork when you’re heating up different food items.
WEIGH YOUR OPTIONS BEFORE DECIDING WHICH MICROWAVE TO BUY
A good understanding of your kitchen layout and cooking needs will help you decide whether an over-the-range microwave is right for you. No matter which style you choose, you are sure to find plenty of capacity and powerful cooking in both countertop and over-the-range models.